Банкеръ Weekly



From time to time the Stability Pact for Southeastern Europe reminds of itself, showing that it still exists. On Monday (September 9) its Spokesman Roland Bless and the National Coordinator for Bulgaria Vladimir Filipov gave a joint press conference for the local mass media. As it has already become typical of the Pact's three-year existence, Mr. Filipov and Mr. Bless again had to speak in the future tense. Nevertheless, it became clear from their statements that Bulgaria stands real chances of becoming an energy center in the Balkans, to be financed by the donor organisations within the Stability Pact.Mr. Vladimirov said that the Energy Minister Milko Kovachev had sent to his counterparts in the region and to the Pact's Coordinator Erhard Busek letters, motivating Bulgaria's proposal, stressing on this country's geographical location, its transmission network, and highly qualified workers. The idea for setting up an energy center in Bulgaria was approved at the Second Regional Roundtable, held in Sofia in May, 2002. The final decision, however, is to be made at an intergovernmental level by the Stability Pact's member-countries at a joint meeting in Athens, scheduled for the autumn.The future of another Bulgarian project - the highway Sofia-Nis - also remains unclear. Financing of its construction should be approved at the meeting of the Committee for Infrastrutural Projects with the Stability Pact. In order to have chances to implement the project, its importance for the Balkan region is to be defended both by Bulgaria and Yugoslavia. Mr. Filipov pointed out that Bulgaria had already prepared a feasibility study and expressed hope that Yugoslavia too, will be ready with its feasibility study before the October meeting of the Stability Pact group on infrastructure in Brussels.

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